Sonus SBCs Selected by Retarus

Sonus Networks (News - Alert), Inc., a company that provides SIP communication solutions, recently announced that its session border controllers (SBC) have been selected by Retarus, a provider of professional messaging solutions.

Leveraging Sonus’ SBCs, Retarus will be able to meet growing demand for cloud services and deliver new Internet Protocol (IP)-based services in the future.

Retarus will deploy Sonus SBC 5200 and the Sonus SBC 9000 campaigns.

The SBC 9000 integrates security, call control, Quality of Service (QoS), advanced media services and switching all within a scalable platform. Its chassis-based design provides redundancy mechanisms for 99.99 percent or better availability and hot-swappable cards for in-service replacement and live upgrades.

It provides a robust suite of security features for both signaling and media, and encryption is available as either TLS or IPSec for signaling and Secure RTP for media.

“Retarus depends upon the reliability, scalability and flexibility of Sonus SBCs to enhance and protect their reputation as a leading provider of Fax over IP services,�said Serge Adam, vice president of EMEA at Sonus. “The Sonus SBC portfolio is purpose-built for the most demanding network requirements so customers can have peace of mind that their selection is a good one.�

The Sonus SBC 5200 enables service providers and enterprises to quickly and securely enhance their network by implementing new services like SIP trunking, secure Unified Communications (News - Alert) and Voice over IP (VoIP). The SBC 5200 provides a reliable, scalable platform for IP interconnect that delivers the longstanding strengths of the Sonus SBC 9000 Session Border Controller—security, session control, bandwidth management, advanced media services and integrated billing/reporting tools—in an SBC appliance.

“The Sonus solution enabled Retarus to widen our product and service range by increasing the international footprint of our services,� said Florian Korhammer, vice president, technology & operations at Retarus. “By providing our customers with higher capacity and increased redundancy, we believe that the capabilities enabled by Sonus will strengthen Retarus' position in the fax communication market.�

Want to learn more about SIP Trunking and how to integrate it into your current UC strategy? Don’t miss the SIP Trunking- UC Seminarscollocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.

Edited by Braden Becker

West Positioned Among Leaders in UC Services by Gartner

West, a provider of technology-driven communications services, has been positioned in  Gartner’s (News - Alert) Leaders Quadrant of its “Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), North America.�

The company has been recognized for its portfolio of unified communications services that include network management, enterprise voice, conference and collaboration, messaging and presence, and client applications integration solutions.

West is the creator of InterCall (News - Alert), a solution featuring mobile and desktop tools that enable the seamless scheduling, participation and management of meetings and real time content and application sharing. The company also offers audio, Web and video-based conferencing and collaboration services that are used by 94 percent of the Fortune 100 and more than 75,000 organizations worldwide.

 “West considers its positioning in the Leaders Quadrant by Gartner confirmation of our vision, and a result of our operational and service excellence,� said Todd Strubbe, president of West’s Unified Communications business segment. “Our placement demonstrates that we are achieving what we set out to accomplish and differentiating ourselves from the competition. It is gratifying to be acknowledged as a market leader and justifies West’s ongoing commitment to transform the ways in which businesses communicate.�

 “West is helping us achieve the benefits of UCaaS without having to make capital investments in on-premises infrastructure or build a team to support that model,� said John Jackson (News - Alert), VP of Global Infrastructure and Vendor Management at D+M Group. “We’ve also benefited from reduced overall costs and a cloud-based customer service platform. West integrates with our CRM platform and other UC platforms, including Cisco HCS and Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync, and through this emphasis on integration, has protected our investments for the future.

West’s project management team, according to Jackson, acts as an extension of its IT team, and has the deep technical expertise required for the company’s recent developments. It also provides local support for the firm so the firm doesn’t waste time phoning help desks.

“West’s value-added services have been keys to our success,� Jackson said. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker

Grid-Tied Tornado Power: Taking the Energy Industry by Storm

Canadian engineer Louis Michaud has an idea that could blow the wind industry wide open. He wants to harness the power of a manmade tornado and tie it to the grid.

That’s the sort of innovation that PayPal’s (News - Alert) prosperous founder, Peter Thiel, intends to buy into. His philanthropic group, the San Francisco-based Thiel Foundation, just awarded Michaud $300,000 to build a prototype of a machine that can create “mini� tornadoes. In any other context, that would mean “towering,� because each twister will be about 120 feet tall.

The money will come from the foundation's Breakout Labs program—which was launched in November 2011, in order to help early stage companies to “advance their most radical ideas.� Indeed, according to Thiel’s website, Breakout Labs steps in where more timid souls fear to tread: “Venture capital firms want research that can be quickly brought to market, and federal funding offers little room for risky, unproven ideas. We are jumping into this funding gap to energize innovative research.�

Michaud is ready to go. His company, Sarnia, Ontario-based AVEtec (an acronym for Atmospheric Vortec Engine technology) proposes to harnesses the physics of tornadoes to produce extremely cheap and clean energy. In his design, warm or humid air is introduced into a circular station, where it takes the form of a rising vortex, or a controlled tornado. The temperature difference between this heated air and the atmosphere above it supports the vortex and drives multiple turbines. The vortex can be shut down at any time by turning off the source of warm air.

Among its advantages over other sources of energy, AVE power generation neither produces carbon emissions nor needs energy storage. AVEtec projects that the cost of the energy it generates could be as low as 3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), making it one of the least expensive forms of energy production. An AVE power station could have a diameter of 300 feet and generate 200 megawatts of electrical power, the same order of magnitude as conventional coal power stations.

“The power in a tornado is undisputed,� said Michaud. “My work has established the principles by which we can control and exploit that power to provide clean energy on an unprecedented scale. With the funding from Breakout Labs, we are building a prototype in partnership with [Sarnia-based] Lambton College to demonstrate the feasibility and the safety of the atmospheric vortex engine.� 

Above, Louis Michaud harnesses tornado power. (Photo courtesy of Thiel Foundation.)

To date, Breakout Labs has awarded one dozen grants of up to $350,000 each. Breakout Labs accepts and funds proposals on a rolling basis. “Our … grant recipients… are vastly different in their technologies, company strategies, and goals,� said Breakout Labs Executive Director Lindy Fishburne. “What unites them is ground-breaking science coupled with the passion, vision, and creativity of their founders. We are delighted to bring them into the Breakout Labs community.�

Previous grants, announced earlier in the year, have been awarded to companies working on cultured meat, biomarker detection, brain reconstruction, reversible cryopreservation, human cell re-engineering, universal airborne contaminant detection, artificial protein therapeutics, and antimatter-based fuel.

“The world faces enormous challenges—resource scarcity, aging populations, economic mismanagement—and we need more visionary scientists and engineers like those at Breakout Labs making authentic discoveries and bringing world-changing products to market,� said Thiel Foundation President Jonathan Cain. “We hope Breakout Labs inspires more investors to fund real innovation; more young people to pursue technology and entrepreneurship; and more nonprofits to foster risky, radical ideas.�

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Study Predicts Rapid Growth for Global Convergent Charging Market

Convergent charging and billing has been gaining momentum in the telecom world lately because it enables common management of all users and all services for operators. It is being driven partly by consolidation within the communications industry, as well as the launch of new multimedia services and the increasing emergence of multiplay service offerings on mobile networks. While creating new revenue growth, convergent charging and billing is also increasing marketing flexibility for operators.

Market research firm Infonetics Research has been gathering data on the charging software built to handle multiple dimensions of convergence, including convergence across payment methods, service types and access networks, along with related consulting, integration and managed services. As a result, the research firm has generated a new report titled “Convergent Charging and Services.� Recent excerpts released from this report indicate that the global convergent charging market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent from 2011 to 2016.

As per the report, the primary drivers for convergent charging revenue growth are an increasing number of subscriber licenses, especially in emerging markets, and intensified operator investment in developed markets, where license costs are less pressured. Also, real-time convergent charging capabilities are critical to shared data plans, as they enable operators to ensure that subscriber credit balances are not exceeded and to place limits on individual plan members, as Verizon Wireless is doing with its Usage Controls service, says the Infonetics report.

In a statement, Shira Levine, directing analyst for service enablement and subscriber intelligence at Infonetics Research, said, “The convergent charging market continues to mature, with tier 1 operators now more aggressively deploying solutions to support new services and pricing models, particularly those embarking on LTE upgrades.�

He further added, “As this occurs and suppliers look to solidify their charging capabilities. We expect to see additional consolidation in the vendor community, such as Redknee’s recent acquisition of Nokia Siemens Networks’ BSS business, as well as ongoing traction for integrated policy/charging solutions that enable operators to introduce consumption-based offerings.�

The study expects Ericsson to take a much larger share of the convergent charging market, given the size of its own and Telcordia’s combined subscriber bases. In addition, the analyst also anticipates Amdocs gaining share as well.

While the primary opportunity for convergent charging lies in mobile networks, there is some activity among wireline operators, mainly in multiservice convergence, says the Infonetics’ study.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Small Cell Backhaul among Hot Topics in 2013

Metrocell (small cell) backhaul is going to be one of the hottest topics for 2013 as operators try to figure out the cheapest, easiest and quickest ways to connect those last few hundred meters.

ThinkSmallCell predicts the reason is because new Long Term Evolution (LTE (News - Alert)) networks, as well as 3G networks getting more demand, will start to experience congestion in some urban areas with high human traffic. 

Mobile service providers will reinforce those locations by adding overlay or underlay small cells to boost capacity. In other cases, coverage (indoors) will be the driver. 

Deployment of new Wi-Fi features such as Passpoint and Hotspot 2.0 will start to make use of Wi-Fi even more seamless experience with traditional mobile broadband. 

But analysts at ThinkSmallCell also believe that Long Term Evolution speeds will be fast enough to cause many users to shift behavior, using the mobile network where they today shift to a local Wi-Fi connection.

We'll see. The countervailing argument is that users shift to Wi-Fi partly because that has offered a better user experience, and partly because it saves money. Better LTE will change expectations about "better experience," but will not change the desire to save money.

The first "Small-Cell-as-a-Service" commercial services will launch. Multimode small cells will be commercially available from several suppliers and be deployed, ThinkSmallCell predicts. 

On the other hand, some think the real activity for carrier small cells will show up in 2014 and 2015, Ericsson predicts. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

IPTV, HD Growing Strong as Global Pay-TV Market Reaches 864 Million Subscriptions

It wasn’t a banner year for growth spikes when it came to global pay-TV subscriptions in 2012, but the market continued to grow: it added nearly 47 million subscribers in 2012 to reach a total of 864 million subscribers.

 ABI Research revealed the worldwide IPTV subscriber base has been increasingly rapidly over the past few years.

“The growth in satellite, cable and IPTV markets was strong, although digital terrestrial TV growth was flat in 2012,� said Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director of core forecasting. “ABI Research expects that the pay-TV market will continue to grow in 2013 to reach 907 million subscribers.�

Meanwhile, worldwide HD service adoption is expected to grow. At present, 33 percent of worldwide pay-TV subscribers are using HDTV services. HDTV penetration is the highest in North America followed by Western Europe; accounting for 84 percent and 76 percent of total pay-TV subscriptions respectively. As many of the countries in different regions are trying to switch over to digital transmission, the number of HD channels and packages offered by the operators increase.

“Worldwide HD service adoption is expected to grow. ABI Research forecasts that 38 percent of global pay-TV subscribers will be subscribing to HDTV services in 2013,� noted Khin Sandi Lynn, research analyst.

The IPTV segment is one notable bright spot in the market: the IPTV subscriber base shows no sign of abating. In 2013, the worldwide IPTV subscriber base is expected to add more than nine million subscribers to reach 79.3 million. More than half of the net addition will be from Asia-Pacific; China alone is expected to add more than three million subscribers, ABI said.

The cable TV market, meanwhile, will remain strong, especially due to the growth in Asia-Pacific markets such as China and India. Cable TV will maintain the largest market share of the overall pay-TV market in 2013.

“However, rapidly growing IPTV will cause cable’s market share to decline to 65.4 percent in 2013 from 66.2 percent in 2012,� ABI noted.

Tara Seals has over thirteen years of experience as a journalist. Her areas of expertise cover the waterfront of the service provider segment, especially mobile networks, devices and applications; and video infrastructure, content and broadcast models.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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Mobile Testing: Users Prefer Windows Phone

While the Windows Phone platform has been struggling a bit in the face of deeply entrenched rivals iOS and Android, there's an odd fact floating around that may well change the game. Microsoft recently announced on its Windows Phone blog that when users actually try a Windows Phone device, they're likely to prefer it to their current phone, and they're likely to prefer it in a surprisingly large percentage.

Specifically, Microsoft was talking about the results of its “Meet Your Match� challenge, which was in turn similar to its “Smoked by Windows Phone� challenge. The “Meet Your Match� challenge revealed an unexpected truth: 88 percent of the more than 75,000 people who tried Windows Phone in several countries—specifically Germany, the U.K., France and the U.S.-- felt that the Windows Phone device they tried was actually better for them than the phone they were carrying at the time.

It's not just the challengers who are enjoying the “Meet Your Match� challenges, though, with the “Meet Your Match� YouTube videos also doing fairly well at more than 600,000 total views and fully 88 percent of those users liking said videos. But what does this mean for Microsoft and Windows Phone?

The biggest problem that Microsoft faced in terms of Windows Phone was that it came so late to the party. Most users had already slipped into one camp or another, and had a line of device they quite clearly preferred. Why leave a device that has all the apps they need on it, and that they're used to and even enjoy for a new, untested device from the people who brought them the computer? Microsoft had to show people the value, and it had to do it in a very big way to get people out of their familiar camps. The results of the “Meet Your Match� and “Smoked by Windows Phone� challenges should go a long way toward helping on that front, and as Microsoft continues to show the value—which it's going to have to do on a regular basis—the more people they're likely to get out of their current camp, especially if there's any discontent seen.

Windows Phone, naturally, has a long way to go before it can truly be regarded as a strong competitor for Android and iOS, but with a dedication to presenting value tops on their list, it may well pull it off.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

FCC Unveils New Security Tool to Protect Consumer Mobile Devices

Statistics show that theft of cellphones and smartphones is on the rise. Media reports suggest that such losses amount to nearly $30 billion every year. Concurrently, mobile password thefts and other security threats are also on the rise. Research shows that mobile security threats overall have grown 350 percent since 2010. To help consumers protect their mobile devices this holiday season, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is stepping in with a new tool called the “Smartphone Security Checker.�

The checker, which is built in partnership with organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, The Federal Trade Commission, The National Cyber Security Alliance, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Lookout, Sophos and other public and private sector partners, includes tips for Android, iOS, Windows and BlackBerry users on setting passwords, backing up data, wiping data on an old phone and how to avoid stolen devices.

According to FCC, the Smartphone Security Checker is a free, easy-to-use online tool that creates a 10-step smartphone action plan to help consumers protect their mobile devices from smartphone-related cybersecurity threats. Almost half of Americans now own a smartphone and close to 20 percent have been the victim of mobile cybercrime.

Consumers can access the Smartphone Security Checker at

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement, “With less than half of smartphone owners using passwords to protect their devices, this new tool will be of particular value to millions of Americans. The holiday gift-giving season is a perfect time to remind consumers to take simple steps, like setting a password, to protect themselves from mobile security threats.�

In short, the security checker sets pins and passwords for your smartphone, downloads security apps that enable remote locating and data wiping, backs up data on your smartphone if your device is lost or stolen, wipes data on your old phone and tells you where to go to donate, resell or recycle it, and shows you how to safely use public Wi-Fi networks and what steps to take if your phone is stolen.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

iPhone 5 First Weekend Sales in China Top Two Million

It doesn’t seem possible. That an iPhone with so much — a larger display, a faster chip, ultrafast wireless technology, an 8MP iSight camera — could be so thin and so light. But it is. In fact, iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever.

Learn more about the design of iPhone 5

The 4-inch Retina display lets you see more of everything. And everything you see is vivid and lifelike. It’s a larger, more beautiful canvas made the right way. Because even though the display is bigger, iPhone 5 is the same width as iPhone 4S. So it’s just as easy to use with one hand.

Learn more about the features of iPhone 5

With support for the latest wireless technologies, iPhone 5 connects to more networks all over the world.* And Wi-Fi is faster, too. So you can browse, download, and stream content at remarkable speeds, wherever you happen to be.

Learn more about the features of iPhone 5

The all-new Apple-designed A6 chip in iPhone 5 is powerful but not power hungry. CPU performance and graphics performance are up to twice as fast as on the A5 chip. But even with all that speed, iPhone 5 gives you outstanding battery life.

Learn more about the features of iPhone 5

Use the Apple Store app to shop, make appointments, and more. Download now

University Ventures to Start UV Labs

University Ventures is now launching UV Labs, a company that will work directly with universities and other higher education facilities to design products to help resolve issues that arise with accessibility, quality, accountability and affordability that education institutes face. 

A group that will consist of program designers and social scientists, along with a field of experts in education, technology, and cognitive science, will work together to help develop programs for students, educational institutes and employers alike.

The group put together by UV Labs will be led by its Co-founder and CEO, Dr. Satish Menon. In the last twenty years, Dr. Menon has been involved with various projects that have created advancements in education and digital media. His previous experiences as Chief Technology Officer for the Apollo group and Vice President for Yahoo’s Consumer Platforms division have made Dr. Menon a logical choice to head this project.

Furthermore, Dr. Menon is enthusiastic about his new appointment, calling it “an exciting collaborative new venture.� He also says that this will address a serious problem of higher education being naturally slower to adopt the technological advances that other industries are embracing.

By ensuring that universities are up to the same standards as other industries, they will ultimately do a better job of preparing a skilled workforce. UV Labs, in conjunction with “global thought-leaders in higher education and the private and public sectors,� will be able to “deploy products that will adequately prepare learners to meet and solve the pressing needs facing our world today.�

Ryan Craig, the director at University Ventures, says that they are “thrilled� to have Dr. Menon at the helm. According to Craig, Dr. Menon’s background will serve him well in his new role.

“His knowledge of the education, media and consumer sectors and his strong technology expertise, paired with the team's experience and passion for higher education, will aid UV Labs in becoming a great resource for innovative education products and technologies,� Craig concludes.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo